Fruits Basket: Episode 24 – “Let’s Go Home”

This episode features the section of the story that I was very interested in seeing this reboot adapt. And I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed by what I saw in this episode.

We get some backstory for Kyo, and we learn about what happened to his mother and the type of relationship she had had with Kyo. This is incredibly important for what happens in the climax of the episode. We also learn that Kazuma, Kyo’s teacher, was more like a father to him. And since Kazuma’s grandfather had been the previous Soma member to have the cat spirit, Kazuma likely has the best understanding of the cat spirit and the person who has it.

This episode finally reveals the secret that Kagura was referring to in the previous episode. It turns out that when the rosary bracelet that Kyo wears around his wrist is taken off, he turns into a completely different form. Through flashbacks, we see Akito and other Somas reacting negatively to it. Well, Kazuma decides to put Tohru to a test, and he takes Kyo’s rosary bracelet off in front of her. Kyo panics and flees after he’s changed into this monstrous form.

What I appreciate in Takaya’s storytelling is that Tohru doesn’t automatically accept this other form. It’s handled much more realistically, with Tohru being shocked and scared by it, and being torn on how to respond. And it’s also realistic that when Tohru makes up her mind to talk to Kyo in this other form, he tries to push her away. Everyone else has reacted negatively to this form, so he sees no reason for Tohru to act differently. In an attempt to try to get her to leave him alone, he pushes her in his monstrous form and actually gives Tohru an injury… which is something he never would intentionally do when he’s his regular self.

Again, Tohru acts realistically right after this. She starts walking away right at first, but after a short bit, realizes that she doesn’t want to lose Kyo. I liked how, instead of the regular closing credits, we get to see the credits in the corner as Kazuma sees the results of the test he gave to Tohru.

But with the way this episode ended, it really felt like it should have been the season ender. But, there was the usual preview screen at the end of the episode, indicating that there is indeed one more episode for this season. It’ll be interesting to see how this remaining episode will end the season and what hook it will have to make the audience want to come back when the second season comes out.

Fruits Basket: Episode 23 – “You Look Well…”

This episode of Fruits Basket opens with Tohru learning that she failed an exam and has to take a makeup. Unfortunately, it was in a subject that Yuki tutored her in, so she’s down about that and the fact that she feels like she can’t keep her promise to her mother to make it through high school if she fails an exam.

But things are compounded when Tohru comes down with a cold. It’s so sweet to see how awkward it is for Kyo when he’s trying to take care of her. But it was also amusing to see Momiji going to fill in for Tohru at work, since she had to call out sick. In all seriousness, though, amidst the awkwardness of Kyo trying to help Tohru, the viewer can also see the relationship between these two characters continuing to evolve.

The Tohru storyline takes up roughly half of the episode. In the second half, the focus shifts to Kyo. Kagura drops by for a visit, and Shigure forces the two of them to go out together to get them out of the house. He also sends Tohru and Yuki out as well. While Kyo and Kagura are out, Kagura drops hints for the audience that Kyo is keeping some kind of a secret from Tohru. There’s even a brief flashback that Kagura has that hints at something, but the audience doesn’t get to see what it is that happened. This is obviously building up to something, but I’m not going to say any more than this. While I already know what’s coming up, I don’t want to provide spoilers for any readers who may not have had any previous familiarity with the Fruits Basket franchise.

Right at the end of the episode, it’s discovered that there’s a visitor at Shigure’s house: Kyo’s teacher. Kyo seeing his teacher happens right at the end of the episode, so the next episode will be building from there. Technically, the audience saw him briefly a little earlier in the episode, but his identity wasn’t revealed until the end of the episode.

From what I’ve read, there should be two more episodes for the first season of the Fruits Basket reboot anime. With what I saw today, I know exactly where they intend to break the season, and this is going to be the perfect point to end the season on. I can’t wait to see how the reboot anime tackles this particular story arc.

Fruits Basket: Episode 22 – “Because I Was Happy”

When I saw how light-hearted last week’s episode was, I knew we were headed for something more serious. It turns out I was right, because this episode is Hana’s backstory, which is actually rather dark. Originally, Hana’s backstory appeared much later in the manga. However, it really makes more sense to have it right here, to directly follow the episode with the Prince Yuki fan club girls going to Hana’s house.

It turns out that Hana was born with special powers, and as a child, didn’t know how to control them. Hana’s “wave power” had been used as a joke up to this point in the series, so it’s refreshing to see there’s actually more to them than comic relief, and to have this fact established earlier on in the series.

Even though Hana tried to keep her powers a secret, kids at her elementary school were bullying her anyway and calling her a witch. When the torment gets really bad one day, she thinks in her head that she wishes her tormentor would die, and then he suddenly collapses. While there’s no proof that Hana’s power caused this to happen, Hana believes in her heart that she was responsible because she had wished for him to die. The bullying continues, but Hana refuses to tell her parents about it because she doesn’t want to bother them. Unlike what we see with some of the Somas and how their families are ashamed or don’t want to deal with their children’s curse, Hana’s parents really care about her. And Hana sees her family as kind people, and that home is somewhere that she feels safe.

At one point, Hana’s younger brother says a prayer, hoping that someone outside of their family will come along and care for Hana as well. Not too long after this, a group of girls bully Hana and try to burn her with a match, but are caught by their teacher. But this ends up being too much for Hana’s parents, so they decide to move. And with her transfer to a new school, Hana meets Tohru and Uo. The rest of the episode sees how they become the friends that they are now. And near the end of this story, we get to see part of a conversation that Kyoko has with Hana. I love seeing how Kyoko had the ability to understand others and have the right words to say at the right time. Tohru also has her own way of reaching people, as we’ve seen countless times in Fruits Basket already.

By the end of this episode, though, I could feel the tears starting to well up. It’s another story in this series that tugs at the heart strings, which is something that Fruits Basket is known for.

I think I have a good feeling about what’s coming next and how this season is going to end. If I’m right, we really won’t be seeing much light-heartedness in the remaining episodes this season. I’m interested in seeing if I’m right on my guess, and to see how this reboot handles the particular storyline from the manga that I’m thinking of.

Fruits Basket: Episode 21 – “I Never Back Down from a Wave Fight”

This episode focuses on Motoko, the president of the Prince Yuki Fan Club, along with her two subordinates. There’s also an emphasis on Hanajima, since the girls are trying to find if she has a weakness, because they see her as the “Demon Queen” that protects Tohru. The girls perceive Tohru as a threat, since she’s so close to Yuki and is constantly violating the rules of their club (never mind that Tohru isn’t a member of said club).

They devise a ridiculous scheme, and asks Hanajima if they can go to her house in order to interview her about waves for an article for the school newspaper. After she says yes, we learn through a conversation with Tohru and Arisa that she sees right through them, but is willing to entertain them, anyway.

One of my favorite things is how, before they actually go to her house, seeing what Motoko and the other two think her house must be like. It’s so over the top and ridiculous, just like those three are as characters. LOL!

But when they get to Hanajima’s house, they discover that it’s normal. While Hanajima is making tea, they try finding something to use as a weakness against her. They find all black clothes, all black makeup, and… a collection of shojo manga. While the manga may be different, and not what they expected, it still wasn’t a weakness.

We are also introduced to Hanajima’s younger brother, a middle schooler named Megumi. I thought it was amusing how he was first introduced into the story (Motoko finds him hiding in a closet while snooping around). He looks like and has a very similar demeanor to Hanajima, although his power isn’t waves… he claims he curses people and can do so by knowing their names. Even though Hanajima warned the girls not to say their names in the house, they do it while snooping through her room. Megumi uses this to his advantage later, and it’s amusing.

But amongst the humor, there’s a very serious moment that takes place. Hanajima makes it clear that she knows Motoko and the other two are jealous of Tohru and want to get her out of the way. But what’s interesting is that it’s not Hanajima who delivers the serious speech in this scene, it’s Megumi. But it had to be this way, so Hanajima could realize something when it comes to her feelings for Tohru. The three main girls from the Prince Yuki Fan Club don’t want to hear this truth, of course, but they deserve it. While they may not be quite as obnoxious as they were in the original Fruits Basket anime, they’re still on the annoying side. As a viewer, there was a bit of a feeling of satisfaction seeing those three get schooled on relationships by a middle schooler.

Overall, this was a more light-hearted episode, with a serious point made near the end of it. But knowing that we’re getting closer to the end of the season, it makes me think we have a more serious story coming. Generally, whether it’s in anime or other animated series, a light-hearted story near the end of a season tends to signify that a much more serious story to end the season is coming. It’s a kind of “calm before the storm,” so to speak. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not I’m right about this or not.

Fruits Basket: Episode 20 – “I Can’t Believe You Picked It Up”

This episode introduces another zodiac member of the Soma family. This time, it’s a young boy named Hiro, and he suddenly shows up and starts antagonizing Tohru. It starts with him kicking off his boot while sitting high up and demanding that she pick it up for him. When she does what he asks, he starts berating her. This confrontation ends with him taking Tohru’s pocketbook (which has a picture of her mother in it). Luckily, Momiji finds Tohru, and he brings Kisa around to talk to Hiro. While Hiro gives the pocketbook back, he continues acting like a jerk toward Tohru.

We later learn through a conversation between Shigure and Hatori why Hiro is acting the way he is. For Hatori, I’m sure it reminds him of what happened with him and Akito. Even though Hiro loves Kisa, another member of the Soma family and not someone from the outside, Akito still lashed out… but this time at Kisa, rather than at Hiro. Hiro’s guilt made him avoid Kisa, and unfortunately, this was right around the time that Kisa started being bullied in school. And Hiro treats Tohru the way he does because he’s jealous over the fact that Tohru is the one who saved Kisa and not him. Since Hiro is only in sixth grade, he’s simply young and doesn’t understand how to deal with his feelings.

But it was nice to see near the end of the episode how Tohru is ultimately about to help Hiro through her words, just like she has with other cursed members of the Soma family. Obviously, Hiro isn’t going to change overnight, but at least Tohru has started a process that can hopefully help Hiro deal with his feelings.

Even though Hiro came across as abrasive and annoying, this was still a good episode. He needed to be the driving force of the episode, and you couldn’t have had the conflicts and character growth that happened here without those character traits.

And I’ve got to say, that Mogeta cartoon that Tohru is watching with Kisa and Yuki is just not very good. Yuki’s reactions to it were pretty hilarious, though.

Fruits Basket: Episode 19 – “I’m So Sorry!”

This episode introduces another Soma, one who was referenced when Tohru and the others went to the hot spring. Yes, we were finally introduced to Ritsu Soma, the monkey of the zodiac. It turns out that Ritsu has the same behavior and demeanor as his mother. Yes, I’m spoiling a plot point of the episode, but I think most of my readers have some familiarity with the Fruits Basket franchise already.

Intertwined with this storyline is Shigure’s editor trying to get a manuscript from him that is due that day. The editor and Ritsu have their first run-in right at the beginning of the episode, when Ritsu comes to the house to meet Tohru at the same time the editor is trying to get a hold of Shigure. Shigure, of course, is up to his usual tricks and teasing with his editor. He also teases Ritsu a bit early on in the episode. It doesn’t help that Ritsu dresses up in girls’ clothing because he feels more comfortable that way. This provides some humor when Tohru and the editor both believe that Ritsu is female. Since Tohru doesn’t realize and goes to hug Ritsu, he turns into his monkey form. While we don’t get the hugging gag with the editor (for obvious reasons), the poor lady gets just as flustered as Tohru after learning that Ritsu is male.

For the most part, this episode is a little bit goofier and focuses more on humor. It becomes more serious near the end, especially during the part where Ritsu climbs up on the roof of Shigure’s house and seems as if he may be wanting to jump. Tohru gets up on the roof and has a serious conversation with Ritsu. While Ritsu continues to be as apologetic as ever, he definitely gets something out of Tohru’s words. As we see, there’s things that Ritsu and Shigure’s editor seem to have in common, and by the end of the episode, they seem to be striking up a frienship.

Like I said at the beginning of the last paragraph, this episode was more goofy than normal. But considering how serious some of the recent episodes have been (Uo’s backstory and last week’s episode with Kisa), perhaps a more light-hearted episode was needed at this point.

Fruits Basket: Episode 18 – “What’s Important Is…”

The episode begins with Yuki and Tohru waiting for the rain to let up. As they do, it’s mentioned that the student council elections are coming up soon, and that the current president wants Yuki to be his successor. Yuki, of course, wants no part of that.

They are approached by Haru, who is sopping wet and carrying something in his jacket. He reveals that he is carrying a small tiger. This is Kisa Soma, a middle school student who has been bullied by her peers and no longer talks or goes to school because of it. When Kisa first meets Tohru in tiger form, she bites her.

Kisa is taken to Shigure’s house, and Tohru wants to be friends with her. When Kisa’s mother comes, she seems to be cold and distant towards her daughter. But as Tohru recounts the bullying that happened to her when she was young and how she didn’t tell her mother, as well as the feelings she had, Tohru’s words reach both mother and daughter. From that point on, Kisa forms a bond with Tohru. It turns out that Yuki overhears Tohru’s words as well, and he recalls the time when he was younger and didn’t speak for a while because of abuse he went through. Tohru’s words move Yuki as well.

Kisa stays at Shigure’s for a while, and it’s so adorable how she follows Tohru around like a little duckling. The two form a special bond, and I think Tohru kind of sees Kisa as the little sister that she never had. And it’s nice to see Tohru making a true bond with a female Soma. While there’s a bond with Kagura, it’s just not the same as it is with Kisa, Kyo, or Yuki.

Haru delivers a letter to Kisa from her homeroom teacher, and he comments about how it’ll probably make him want to barf. After hearing the letter read out loud, I had to agree with him. The teacher’s letter felt so tone deaf. After Yuki reads part of it aloud, he shares his feelings with Kisa about the time he had when he wasn’t speaking to others, and questions some of what the homeroom teachers says in the letter. After hearing Yuki’s words, Kisa starts speaking. It’s words and short phrases at first, but she’s made the first step in starting to speak to others.

After what Yuki goes through in this episode, he finds the courage to accept the student council president’s request to become his successor. I loved at the end of the episode, where after Yuki accepts, we hear his thoughts about finding courage and facing fear. As we hear his words, we see Kisa making her return to school. I thought this device worked well, as it highlights the parallels between Yuki and Kisa.

The scene where Tohru hears Kisa speak for the first time was wonderful. It was one of many scenes in this episode that brought out the “feels” that Fruits Basket is known for.